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#016 – Sidechain Compression Real Uses

Video Resources

  • Sidechain Slideshow .PDF – Download the slideshow for your convenience!
  • FabFilter Plugins – My absolute favorite plugins so far as a music producer. The design of these plugins are very intuitive, and increase your workflow and creativity tremendously.

In this video of our FL Studio Beginner’s Series, we look further into sidechain compression.

Previously I discussed Compression in #014 of this series, but that was a general overview of how to use compression for general purposes as well as creative uses such as molding/shaping a sound.

This time around I reveal to you the hidden gem of sidechain compression for us producers.

What We Cover:

  • What is Sidechain Compression
  • How Sidechain Compression Actually Works
  • Popular uses of Sidechain Compression
  • How to Setup and Route Sidechain Compression
  • Setting up a third-party plugin for Sidechain Compression in FL Studio
  • Advanced uses of Sidechain Compression for Emotion and Fullness.

The most confusing thing for me with sidechain compression was actually learning how to set up the routing to get sidechain compression to work.

To keep it simple, we will use a kick drum and a pad for our example to achieve that EDM Pump.

You first route both of these sounds to their own mixer insert.

Now you decide what sound you want to use as the external input – the sound which the compressor will listen to and determines when to start compressing.

In our case, we’ll use the kick drum.

You click on the kick drum and right click on the bottom arrow of the pad’s mixer insert.

FL Studio will give you the option to route it or sidechain to this track.


By selecting sidechain, this allows the pad’s insert to use the kick drum as an external input, but you can’t hear the audio (which is what we want!)

On the actual pad, you can then open up your choice of compressor and you should see the kick drum as an option to choose for your external input.


From here all you have to do is set your threshold and ratio to get your desired result.

Pro Tip: – You can fine-tune the attack/release knobs to get the timing of the clamp down and release of the actual sidechain compression to get it more in-sync with your music’s tempo.

For the whole series, you can join:
FL Studio Beginner’s Series.

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